Perspectives on the use of medication in aging populations
This exploratory study is based on two assumptions. The first assumption is that the world we live in is socially constructed. The second assumption is that patient participation in healthcare decisions is essential. The patient, as the end-user of medications, needs to be involved in order to improve the quality of medication use. Despite increasing attention to geriatric pharmacotherapy, there is little information available concerning the older adults’ perspectives on the use of medications. Therefore, the aim of the study was to explore the attitudes and practices regarding medication use by two groups in the aging population: aging with a disability and aging into disability. A qualitative approach, using in-depth semi-structured interviews, was used. Ten individuals aged 65 years plus, who use five or more prescription and/or over-the-counter medication, and who reside in the community answered questions about their experiences using medication. These findings indicated that older adults’ expectations of their medications are grounded in the reality of their experiences, attitudes, beliefs and social or health care situations. The thematic framework developed from the data demonstrated that older adult’s perceptions of medication use linked to five themes through activities that helped them confirm or modify their perceptions. The five themes are: knowledge and experience, relationship with health care provider, drug management, attitude and impact of medical condition/or disability. It is hoped that this study will provide valuable knowledge of the unique concerns of the older adults in relation to the use of medication.